A U.S. citizen who was a top assistant to the leader of a Mexican drug cartel was sentenced Monday to 30 years in federal prison for his role in smuggling drugs across the border.
Manuel Arturo Villarreal Heredia, 32, will also forfeit $5 million. He thanked U.S. District Judge Larry Burns for being fair.
Villarreal pleaded guilty in September to racketeering and conspiracy to invest illicit drug profits.
He was captured with cartel chief Francisco Javier Arellano Felix aboard a fishing yacht off the coast of Baja California in 2006. Arellano Felix pleaded guilty to running the cartel and was sentenced in November to life in prison.